The aim is to unify India under the saffron flag of Hindu power, derives from Shivaji, an 18th century Hindu prince who conducted a brief rebellion against the Muslims empire. Nehru stated that this new flag is a symbol of freedom not only for India, but for all peoples of the world.
Then on January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was shot at point-blank range by Nathuram Godse, member of the Hindu Mahasabha and former member of the RSS. Godse, who edited a newspaper called Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) had left RSS because it seemed to him not political enough; the Mahasabha, a political party, was more congenial. As was shown by a letter written by Godse to Savarkar in 1938 and submitted to the trial court, Godse had long had a close relationship with Savarkar, whom he revered. “Since the time you were released from your internment at Ratnagiri,” he wrote, “a divine fire has kindled in the minds of those groups who profess that Hindustan is for the Hindus.” He speaks of using the Hindu Mahasabha (of which Savarkar was then President) to build a National Volunteer Army, drawing on the resources of the RSS, where Godse was then a leading local organizer. Savarkar’s picture was on the masthead of Godse’s newspaper, and the two cooperated increasingly closely, especially after Godse left RSS for the Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar appears to have known about the existence of a plot to assassinate Gandhi, and some believe that he was the mastermind behind at least the unsuccessful attack on January 20: testimony from a witness includes the information that he said to the conspirators, “Be successful and return.” (Savarkar was ultimately acquitted of conspiracy because of insufficient evidence.) Godse asserts that he planned the later, successful attempt on his own.
There is no doubt, at any rate, about where Godse got his intellectual inspiration or about his reasons and goals. At his sentencing on November 8, 1948, Godse read a long (book-length) statement of self-explanation, justifying his assassination for posterity. Although the statement was not permitted publication at the time, it gradually leaked out into the public. Translations into Indian languages began appearing, and in 1977 the English original was published by Godse’s brother Gopal under the polite title, May it Please Your Honour. A new edition, with a long epilogue by Gopal, was published in 1993 under the more precise title Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. Today the statement is also widely available on the Internet, where Godse is something of a hero on Hindu right websites, revered as a hero, and, on one website entirely devoted to his career (www.nathuramgodse.com), as “The True Patriot and the True Indian.” (This website also contains the text of a recent Marathi-language play glorifying Godse that has been banned in India.)
Godse’s self-justification, like Savarkar’s Hindutva, sees recent events against the backdrop of centuries of “Muslim tyranny” in India, punctuated by the heroic resistance of Shivaji, the Hindu emperor who carried on a military campaign against the Moghul rulers in the eighteenth century, with brief success. Like Savarkar, he describes his goal as that of creating a strong, proud, India that can throw off the centuries of domination. On the contemporary scene, the two major thinkers who vie for the loyalty of Indians, as they chart their course for the future, seem to him to be Savarkar and Gandhi. He utterly rejects Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence as both utopian and unmanly. “I could never conceive that an armed resistance to an aggression is unjust.” Godse is appalled by Gandhi’s rejection of the warlike heroes of classical Hindu epics: ‘It is my firm belief that in dubbing Rama, Krishna and Arjuna as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed a total ignorance of the springs of human action.” Indeed, he argues, it is Gandhi who is the more guilty of violence, since he exposes Indians to subordination and humiliation: “He was, paradoxical as it may appear, a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the name of truth and non-violence, while Shivaji [and other resistance fighters] will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen for ever for the freedom they brought to them.”
Godse’s second major objection to Gandhi is to his “pro-Muslim policy,” which he sees in many aspects of Gandhi’s politics, for example his support for Urdu alongside Hindi as national languages, and his willingness to placate Jinnah and the Muslim League. Gandhi, he argues, has betrayed his role as father of the Indian nation and has become the father of Pakistan. Hindi and Urdu are not very different as languages; they are slightly different dialects at most. The major difference between them is the script in which they are written: Persian script, in the case of Urdu, Devanagari (the Sanskrit script) in the case of Hindi. Thus it is odd to apply the ideas of linguistic nationalism to this question.
tells us that he gradually came to the conclusion that
Gandhi’s (to him) disastrous policies could only be brought to an end by ending
Gandhi’s life. Such was Gandhi’s personal charisma that so long as he lived,
the Congress Party would have to “be content with playing second fiddle to all
his eccentricity, whimsicality, metaphysics and primitive vision.” Gandhi’s
“childish insanities and obstinacies, coupled with a most severe austerity of
life, ceaseless work and lofty character made Gandhi formidable and
irresistible.” So, he planned in secret, he says, telling nobody about his
plans, and fired the fatal shots.
Toward the end of Godse’s statement appears a passage that heads the Hindu-right website devoted to his memory: If devotion to one’s country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin. If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other court of justice beyond the one founded by the mortals, my act will not be taken as unjust. If after the death there be no such place to reach or to go, there is nothing to be said. I have resorted to the action I did purely for the benefit of the humanity. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to lakhs [tens of thousands] of Hindus.
To understand the politics of S.Asia however one has to understand that in many cases names mattered more than the things they were actually meant to designate.
So also the authors of the Khilafat-e-Pakistan Scheme of the, Lahore: Punjab Muslim Student Federation, in 1939, for instance, spent most of their creative energy on finding appropriate Islamic-sounding terms for state institutions but paid little attention to how these institutions were supposed to operate. Amongst other things, they insisted that their country needed a 'bait ul-mal' (lit. 'House of Property') instead of a 'State Bank' even though they openly acknowledged that there was no substantive difference between the two.
This was not simply a matter of translation. Both terms were equally 'foreign' to the linguistic context of North India, but the Arabic term conjured up a link with the time of the Prophet of Islam that suggested a sense of justice and common welfare, while the English equivalent smacked of an illegitimate European presence. Names were believed to encapsulate an inner authenticity that was in accord with the larger national soul. Something similar was at play when Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were renamed Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai over the last decade, or when the regime of Pervez Musharraf claimed that calling the 'District Commissioner' a 'District Nazim' would make a real difference to how this figure related to the people.
Another explicit and philosophically grounded approach to the politics of naming was to be found in the oeuvre of VD. Savarkar. His famous pamphlet Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? actually started off with a meditation on the ontological status of names. This was necessary because the recasting of Hindu identity as 'Hindutva' was directly grounded in the belief that the abolition of the European term 'Hinduism' would lead to substantive changes in the nature of the Hindu community itself. Savarkar's reasoning went as follows:
The very fact that a thing is indicated by a dozen names in a dozen human tongues disarms the concomitance between sound and the meaning it conveys. Yet, as the association of the word with the thing grows stronger and lasts long, so does the channel which connects the two states of consciousness tend to allow an easy flow of thoughts from one to another, till at last it seems almost impossible to separate them. And when in addition to this, a number of secondary thoughts or feelings that are generally roused by the thing get mystically entwined with the word that signifies it, the name seems to matter as much as the thing itself. ( ... ) ... there are words which imply an idea in itself extremely complex or an ideal or a vast and abstract generalization which seem to take, as it were, a being unto themselves or live and grow as an organism would do. C ... ) Inscribe at the foot of one of those beautiful paintings of 'Madona' [sic] the name 'Fatima' and a Spaniard would keep gazing at it as curiously as at any other piece of art; but just restore the name of 'Madona' instead, and behold his knees would lose their stiffness and bend, his eyes their inquisitiveness and turn inwards in adoring recognition, and his whole being get suffused with a consciousness of the presence of Divine Motherhood and Love! (Savarkar, Hindutva, pp. 1-2.)
Savarkar's ruminations describe nothing less than a reification of names. Although he said earlier in the pamphlet that things matter more than names, he ends up with the very opposite - that a name makes all the difference for how people interact with things. In fact, as the case of the Spanish Madonna demonstrates, things may no longer matter at all. The example assumes that there is nothing meaningful about the depicted figure as such; meaning is entirely produced by the label. A tentative step towards some form of Sassurian linguistics - that there is really no inherent connection between name and thing, the signifier and the signified - is taken in order to make names appear as if they were the only things that really existed. This manoeuvre was necessary for Savarkar's entire political enterprise. He had to detach names from things in order to be free to create a new name - 'Hindutva' - that was independent of social structures on the ground; having done this, Savarkar then had to start to assume that there was some 'organic' substance to his neologism in order to give it relevance and solidity.
A somewhat similar process of symbolic investment of names was at play in the Pakistan movement. Following the work of Ayesha Jalal, it has now become part of the scholarly consensus that the demand for 'Pakistan' could be politically effective, precisely because the exact meaning of the term was never really spelt out. (Ja1a1, Sole Spokesman, p. 4.)
Chaudhri Rehmat Ali's original coinage was based on an acronym involving letters from the names of each of 'Pakistan's' prospective provinces - 'P' for Punjab, 'A' for Afghania, 'K' for Kashmir and so on, but this was nothing more than an exercise in name fetishism that few Muslim nationalists at the time took very seriously. The alternative reading of Pakistan as 'Land of the Pure' was hardly more precise. A UP Muslim League leader could tell a crowd of supporters that 'Pak'-istan had no territorial basis, but was simply everywhere that Muslims practiced their faith properly. (U. Sanya1, Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmed Riza Khan Barelvi and his movement, 1870--1920, OUP India, 1996, pp. 311-2.)
Apart from recognizing the geographical indeterminacy of 'Pakistan' - all the places mentioned eventually ended up in 'India' - this description also points to something immediately relevant for this chapter. Like the 'P' in Pakistan, names and even letters could be quite literally turned into fetishes or talismans. The magic of Pakistan as a political ideal lay in the fact that people could project their own hopes and aspirations - for states of empowerment and rausch, justice and social equality, religious purity and historical greatness - on to a cipher that became all the more evocative the more people interacted with it.
It is easy to place the preoccupation with naming in the context of late colonial middle-class politics. The creation of terminologies for states and institutions, communities and imaginary armies could propose something radically new without having to deal with the complexities of political action on the ground. The most prolific of neologists were typically those excluded from politics - Savarkar in prison, Rehmat Ali in Cambridge - or members of erstwhile political sects who suddenly found themselves at the core of nationalist movements - such as Mashriqi or the authors of the Scheme. The desire to take possession of something by literally 'branding' it with a name was paramount; the actual qualities of the thing in question - its use value so to speak - secondary. No doubt, there was a sense of joyful creativity in conjuring up names. The drafting of new terminologies generated a state of temporary elation that fed upon the self-expressionist longing for power, beauty and states of de-societalization. Naming was a natural component of the desire to communicate essential being to 'the eyes of the world' and of an aestheticism that revelled in the beauty of political language or the regularity of paramilitary displays. The ultimate roots of the politics of naming were the same that sustained the politics of self-_expression more generally: a middleclass existence that bred both frustration and ambition, but did not provide much room for constructive radical politics. But there appears to be a more direct and specific link between middle-class culture and the politics of naming - consumption as a new form of social communication.
But the universal need of post-colonial societies to protect the memory of the nationalist struggle has been compounded in the South Asian context by the widespread espousal of a culture of frugality. Nobody exemplifies this better than the figure of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - the Mahatma who rejected most of the amenities of normal life and insisted on wearing little more than a loincloth. Indian nationalism, and to an extent also Pakistani nationalism, were in the eyes of their followers not only too sincere and important to be involved in consumerism, they also appear to have taken a direct stance against it. But anti-consumerism of this kind was not opposed to a political culture ruled by consumption, but in fact one of its most striking manifestations. The false assumption is the conflation of consumption with affluence or comfort. Nothing could be further from the truth; as this chapter will demonstrate, the demonstrative expression of austerity is under certain circumstances no less consumerist than the demonstrative expression of affluence.
Thus politics also had been a driving force behind the consumerist use of sign objects, where ideologist lusted after material incarnations of their own conditions of existence, which people in turn not only as the justification for an independent political consciousness, but even for a wider claim to political hegemony: knowledge and education, a familiarity with the ways of the world, self-control. Already early on, Romesh Chandra Dutt in The Economic History of India (1906), suggested that the enforced import of British manufactured goods had destroyed an indigenous Indian industry and thus created a state of dependency and poverty. These ideas were translated into political action during the Swadeshi Movement at the beginning of the twentieth century that demanded the boycott of foreign-made goods, particularly English-made cloth. Although the aim of such actions was to hurt the colonial power economically while supporting indigenous industry, this was not their only effect. More important was that the creation of choice between different consumer goods became a vehicle to demonstrate true commitment to the nationalist ideal.
This encouraged the development of a language of product personalization that sought to exploit political commitment for commercial gain. Wherever possible, imperial products were subjected to competition with self-publicizing swadeshi counterparts. The double logic of consumerism - that you always have a choice, and that what you buy is what you are - was thus introduced to the Indian social environment long before advertising discourse and product branding were able to propose a fully developed semiotic identity grid. (See C. Bayly, 'The Origins of Swadeshi: Cloth and Indian Society 1700-1930', in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, edited by A. Appadurai, Cambridge, 1986.)
A number of advertisers - particularly in a paper like Weekly Tej - tried to turn the desire to express support for self-determination into a selling point for a great variety of products. Nationalist personalities from Dr Satyapal, Dr Ansari and Lala Lajpat Rai to Subhas Chandra Bose and Annie Besant were recruited by various manufacturers to publicly endorse their wares. (D. Mishra, Advertising in Indian Newspapers, 1780-1947,1987, pp. 63, 72.)
Financial ventures and textile mills, in particular, were often advertised with special reference to their directors and board members who in many cases happened to be prominent political leaders. The trust in the safety of an investment was directly linked to the credibility that a sound nationalist political stance bestowed on an entrepreneur. The acquisition of a consumer sign object was thus doubly justified; it allowed consumers to express their desire to mark out the social status they aspired to, while at the same time making this in itself profoundly selfish act appear as if it was beneficial to a larger collective. This connection was even explicitly recognized in the slogan used by Jagilal Kamalapat Mills, Cawnpur: 'apko bhi faida hoga aur apki mulk bhi' - 'Benefit yourself and your country'. (Weekly Tej, 6 May 1935, p. 18.) Even the most politically quietist of middle-class readers could acquire a good political conscience simply by going shopping.
The same logic of consumer politics was adopted by a wide variety of other political movements and opinions. A noteworthy one was Muslim consumer nationalism (or communalism) that mimicked the original swadeshi stance several decades later. As the shops dreamt up by Haji Laqlaq already indicated, the indulgence in a treat - such as mangoes and perfumes - could be legitimized as a statement of collective loyalty to the Muslim community. Long before the Muslim League called for a general boycott of non-Muslim shops in 1946, newspapers included references to 'Islamic' insurances, shipping companies, shops, banks and restaurants, some of which were directly aimed against their non-Muslim competitors. In 1936 the Muslim India Insurance Company, Lahore, which stood in direct competition with the upcoming insurance companies rightly or wrongly associated with Hindu entrepreneurs, made it known to readers that 'Every discerning Muslim must prefer this company to a non-Muslim one'. (In qilabNewspaper, 15 October 1936.)
A shop in Kashmiri Bazaar, a predominantly Muslim area, exhorted its customers in the Zamindar Newspaper, 15 February 1938: 'Always buy from the shops of your Islamic brethren, not from their Sikh competitors! A similar advert was placed by an Amritsari shopkeeper in the same paper on 10 July 1940.
Consumer nationalism was an easy way to dress up the middle-class desire to consume as a service to the nation; but it was also a form of political identity that - like the products it was based on - would invite constant scrutiny and suspicion. Many swadeshi products were not qualitatively different from their imported counterparts, and their swadeshi-ness hence not immediately visible. The following example may illustrate this. A full-page advertisement for Godrej Sandal Soap - published in the Lahore commercial Muslim daily Paisa Akhbarclaimed nationalist credibility by virtue of the ingredients from which the soap was made. Unlike other soaps - the advertisement claimed - Godrej only contained vegetable oils of swadeshi origin, and no factory-made glycerine imported from outside India. (Paysa Akhbar Newspaper, 4 January 1934.)
The nationalism of soap in this case did not lie in its use value or indeed any other visible characteristic, but was somehow inherent to material being itself. The idea that Godrej was quite literally nationalist 'to the core' was designed to invoke utmost solidity, but due to the invisibility of such qualities there was ample opportunity for insinuation and denunciation. The Godrej advert itself suggested that other manufacturers also professed to produce swadeshi soap, but that their claims were a lie; the nationalist commitment of their products was in reality debased by the secret admixture of illicit animal fats. Similar suspicions could be raised elsewhere. Japanese cloth was found to be labelled as 'Indian made'. (Weekle Tej, 22 July, p. 11.)
Even more confusingly, both Lipton Tea and Hindustani Chai were produced in India under colonial tutelage, but one was adorned with an 'imperial' product identity, the other with a 'national' one. Thus the kind of nationalist identity that the choice of sign objects bestowed on their consumers was riddled by the same contradiction that undercut the nationalist credentials of a product like Godrej Soap. On the one hand, there was the suggestion of a profound expression of authenticity. As the advertising specialist Moorhouse pointed out so eloquently, advertising works because it brings a product in connection with people's innermost desires and identities. Only those who were truly nationalist at heart would hence opt for a product with a nationalist product identity. But as the relationship between such products and actual political action was tenuous at best, one could never be quite sure whether the nationalism expressed by product choices was free from political impurities. What if the revelatory magic of advertising was in fact a black magic? Was it not its cardinal feature to lie, to dress up the inferior as the superior? This strange combination of assumed solidity and persistent instability was inherent to the nature of the consumer sign object in general. In a consumer society identities are created with reference to a self-referential and free-floating semiotic grid. Because there is no social structure to ground identities in, consumer choice alone must bear the burden of profundity - an obligation that consumption can only meet if it does not give the consumers pause for thought, but continually propels them on to make more and more consumer choices.
The question of authenticity and inauthenticity was never a problem for the participants in the politics of interest. Their material interests were solid and practical, and their membership in one of the patronage networks identified by colonial social science beyond question. The men of interest were 'men of substance', not 'hollow gentlemen' as satirized by popular commentators. For activists, in contrast, the politics of consumption was the source of a never-ending process of introspection and radicalization. Ismat Chughtai's derogatory comments about the upper-middle-class lifestyles of her communist comrades was a typical instance of denunciation that was bound to lead its targets deeper into an obsession with sign objects, rather than towards a more effective understanding of political action. The basic assumption was that the persistent use of the wrong kind of consumer goods in daily life was bound to contaminate whatever political stance these activists otherwise took. The obvious middle-class answer to such an accusation was not a radicalization of political thinking, but a drive to make sign objects more commensurate with what they believed to be their innermost ideological commitments. This is precisely the logic behind the politics of 'de-classing', legitimate action could not even begin before political identity had been established with essentialist certainty. In a consumer society this was impossible, however. Without any roots in immediate social relationships, the construction of identities with the help of sign objects always had to remain hollow. This void could not be filled, but it could be hidden behind a veneer of frantic political activity that was not really political in the conventional sense of the term. Politics was no longer about managing social relationships, but became restricted to the identification and consumption of more and more sign objects. Thus Jinnah revealed an essential truth when he referred to Pakistan the 'your talisman' in a speech to his followers. (Speech in front of the Youngmen's Khatri association, Karachi, 22 October 1945, quoted in Yusufi Yusufi (ed.), Quaid Speeches, p. 2078.)
Another powerful example of appropriation was the Indian Muslim reaction to the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatiirk. The event created immense excitement. Prayer meetings were held in all major mosques of the subcontinent, in some cases involving several hundreds of thousands of Muslims. But the Atatiirk that Indians mourned and the Atatiirk who had emerged during the founding years of the Turkish republic had preciously little in common. The front page of Inqilab, a respectable, even high-brow paper, reported the following on 10 November 1938: shortly before his death Atatiirk briefly awoke from a coma and conveyed a message to his servant, which the latter was told to pass on to the 'Islamic Nation' (millat Islamiyya). Atatiirk is reported to have sighed 'Allah' and then passed out of consciousness.
This is hardly credible for a leader who died of the effects of life-long alcoholism, and endeavored to break the link between Turkish Islam and the world Muslim community. Thus it is remarkable how the Indo-Muslim account literally and shamelessly colonizes the Turkish historical experience for its own purpose. To make the case more clear, Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, the Unionist Premier of the Punjab, declared in a public speech, that the Muslim Ataturk had been more successful in overcoming the world than Hitler and Mussolini (the most cherished non-Muslim Fascist icons), and that the Muslims of Lahore should not believe what the non-Muslim English language papers had to say about their hero's hostility towards religion. (Letter Diwan Chaman Lal to Acharya Ram 11 November 1938, quoted in NAI: File-Home Political- 28/18/38, Passport Dewan Chaman Lal. Activities of Chaman Lal, author of the prohibited book “The Vanishing Empire”.)
Other speakers and newspaper commentators noted maliciously that Hindu shops and offices had not responded to the general hartal, which the Muslims of Lahore had called to commemorate their Leader's death, adding to the general feeling that Ataturk belonged to the Muslim community, and to nobody else. There was, of course, again an element of symbolic transfer of power involved: both the enforcement and the defiance of the call for a close-down could produce states of empowerment that were in a way directly linked to the perceived power of their symbolic cause, Atatiirk.
However, similar imperialist relationships with faraway places existed in the middle-class Hindu mind. Around 1935, Weekly Tej was full of articles trying to establish that ancient India was the true cradle of world civilization, and that the ancient cultures appropriated by Westerners were in fact offspring’s of original Aryan Hindu culture. (6 May, p. 34, 13 May, p. 6, 10 June 1935, p. 15.)
An often repeated example is that the Greek epic of the Iliad was in fact a local adaptation of the Ramayana. Religiousminded Arya Samajists would go even further, proving that both the Bible and the Quran, as far as they were truthful, were in fact translations of the ancient Vedas. (Aryah Musafir Newspaper, October 1899, November 1899, pp. 35-6. 41 Aryah Musafir, April 1899, p. 23.)
Lengthy tables were introduced to demonstrate that Arabic and Latin were derivatives of Sanskrit. But it was not only the Western claim to a superior past that was literally expropriated. European colonization in modern times was similarly requisitioned. As reported in the Arya Musafir in 1900, Indians had discovered America long before Columbus, all allegedly well-established in Vedic literature. (Aryah Musafir, April 1899, p. 2, and February 1900.)
At times, Hindu opinion took the step from mental colonization ex posteriori, so to speak, to real colonization in the here and now. A series of editorials in Weekly Tej 5 August 1935( p. 9), commented on the great population density in India and debated the acquisition of colonies in under-populated regions around the world to ensure national survival for India.The originator of the debate was one Prof. Mukheljee who had arrived at his conclusions with the help of the latest in statistical and geographic science. The immediate background to such ideas were most probably Mussolini's very similar arguments with regards to the Italian acquisition of Ethiopia, all covered in the Indian press. Hitler's lebensraum philosophy, again familiar to many Indians, may also have been of influence.
But Hindu middle-class appropriations of global space were not only reactions to Western imperialism and fascism. They also developed in direct opposition to Muslim aspirations. One of the most lethal examples was perhaps the Arya Samaj assertion in the Aryah Musafir of March 1899, very popular to this day amongst Sangh Parivar activists, that the Kacba in Mecca was really a Hindu temple, established long before the advent of Islam. In other words, the Muslim claim over territory abroad was seen as equally tenuous and false as their claim over spaces in India itself; both depended allegedly on wanton acts of destruction that could, at least theoretically, be reversed. Some sections of the Hindu middle classes directly measured their own will to power in terms of their ability to undermine the Muslim project of self-empowerment. In their eyes, it was the colonizing impulse inherent in the middle-class Muslim conception of space itself that made the latter' communalist'. (P.I.V. Prashad, Pakistan kz vujud mumkin hai?, Gulbarga: Arya Samaj Press, 1945, pp. 12, 16-17,26, 34.)
This immediately ostracized the great majority of Indian Muslims from 'legitimate' Indian nationalism. Yet the desire to undermine Muslim conceptual space was not restricted to the Hindu right; it also permeated more mainstream nationalist positions that were avowedly 'anti-communal'. Nothing illustrates this better than a travel report in Weekly Tej, 13 May 1935 (pp. 7-8) about Egypt, by the Bengali radical Subhas Chandra Bose.
The piece was published in a Delhi magazine in Urdu translation, a location that further amplified the implicit anti-Muslim bias of the original text. The headline - produced in all probability by the paper, not by Bose - was both enigmatic and ominous: 'The Pyramids and the Sphinx: Nahas pours scorn on the communalist Muslims of India'. The subheading referred to a relatively brief passage towards the end of the article in which Bose describes his encounter with the leader of the nationalist Wafd Party; the latter turns out to be a staunch supporter of Gandhi and the Congress and has little love lost for most Muslim politicians in India. But the main charge against middle-class Islam is far more subtle. More than half of the article deals, as announced, with the sphinx and the pyramids. This gives Bose an opportunity to ruminate at length about the message of history, about the patterns of decay and survival of ancient civilizations. In the course of his deliberations the author goes into the debate about the meaning of the sphinx and considers sun worship as probable origin. The magnificent displays in the Egyptian Museum, described a little later, prompt some more typically Hindu middle-class theoretizing, this time about the long-term effects of spiritual and material superiority. The history and present of Islamic Egypt, in contrast, is only mentioned in one short paragraph. The mosques of Cairo were amongst the nicest to be seen anywhere, Bose simply says without giving any more details.
All this was printed at a time when Egypt was at the centre of attention of middle-class Pan-Islamism. The description of Egypt in terms of its ancient preIslamic past is nothing else than an implicit denial of Muslim ownership which culminates in an explicit political slap in the face, courtesy of Nahas Pasha. The still somewhat oblique anti-Muslim charge of the article is amplified by its context. The same magazine carried numerous stories about archaeological artefacts and great ancient civilizations, which allied to the same conclusion: that the true cradle of civilization was India and that other civilizations were either copies of ancient Indian civilization or in some ways inferior to it. This explicitly included attempts to redefine any act of deity worship worldwide as derivatives of Vedic practice. ('Tahz;IbkIraftar', Weekly Tej, 20 May 1935, p.15.)
The average Hindu middle-class reader would immediately transpose this argument to Bose's oblique reference about the sphinx and sun worship. The de-Islamization of Egypt could thus be pushed to a de facto Hinduization of Egypt. Just as in the case of geography and Western imperialism, the very construction of conceptual global space in Indian middle-class circles was inseparably tied to their will to power.
Thus differences between neo-Fascism in S.Asia and normal nationalism are the formers; inherent open-endedness; and its tendency in the literature to rationalize certain features as staging posts towards national liberation; or as an ideological cover for a project of ‘hegemony'-- violating the conceptual autonomy of its subject and failing to account for its innermost character. The shift into politics was facilitated by the global climate of fascism and the presence of a nationalist mass movement in India itself.
For India the result was a large-scale relocation of major segments of the Urdu-using Hindu middle classes from Lahore to the Delhi area. Savarkar's disciples remained active and attempted to revive the Ayodhya temple/mosque controversy in order to challenge the new nationalist state. And in Punjab, the prePartition agitation against Muslim nationalism tipped almost immediately into new demands for an ethnic Punjabi Sikh state. Plus the mainstream Communist Parties moved more and more towards a 'politics of interest' mode of operating, young middle-class activists - often inspired by events in China and the student rebellion in the West – also, adopted more and more radical forms of leftwing politics.
In Pakistan, politics was to a large extent suppressed by the emerging martial state in the early 1950s. But a resurgence of neo-Fascism occurred in the late 1960s when the newly formed Pakistan People's Party challenged the position of General Ayub Khan's military regime. As was the case in the 1930s and 1940s there were strong and direct links to events elsewhere in the world, at that moment no longer dominated by fascism, however, but by a leftwing student rebellion. The ideological orientation of the PPP was a mixture of old- fashioned Islamo- fascism Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's promise of a 'thousand years of war with India' was not very different from the pronouncements of Mashriqi or the Khilafat-e-Pakistan Scheme - and the kind of left-wingism then globally en vogue. The group of people that carried the PPP agitation forward consisted of erstwhile self-expressionist student activists from the 1940s, now in middle age, and younger members of a middle-class constituency who had expanded during the time of economic prosperity of the early 1960s. As was the case in the first period of self-expressionism, the new political culture was pushed underground by a combination of cooption and coercion. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto himself initiated the process when he turned away from the ideological politics of the PPP in the mid-1970s, and returned to a politics of interest based on landlord power. More recently then there was a sort of Talibanisation of Pakistan leading to its involvement with the incursions into Afghanistan, now in limbo, but to a degree still active today.
Being external to the circumstances in which original fascism arose, South Asians have often been claimed to 'borrow' a political idiom without partaking in its original historical appliance and meaning. However this line of of dismissing the subject (a distinction between an original and a derivative discourse) immediately suggests that this is not an enquiry of true historical importance. Terming it neo-Fascism here, in S. Asia expressing a will to power, it was an unhappy consciousness born out of defeat, where anti-societalism identifies the emergence and autonomy of a new form of politics.
When they spoke of the 'nation', they did not mean a country mobilized for the purpose of achieving a new status accorded by international law, but the total merger of all individual bodies and souls into a collective organism ready for the glories of apocalyptic battle; a total unity, in the context of which even the slightest sign of individual weakness and deviance would amount to existential failure. Finally, when the activists and prophets of self-expression engaged in rigid regimes of corporeal control, they did not simply do so in order to create a new citizenry fit for the modern state, or in order to maintain clear lines of political control, but because they viewed acts of political masochism as cathartic experiences that got them closer to their cherished goal of a life without societal constraints.
The emphasis on individual states of elation and depression facilitated the supersession and amalgamation of any amount of individual grievances. The results were great and very visible upheavals in the streets of the North Indian cities. Paramilitary movements with relatively few members - for instance the Khaksars - could unnerve the security services and enthrall the imagination of large urban populations. If the aim of the new politics was the demonstration and _expression of inner states of feeling, its activists did very well on both accounts. Their actions were witnessed and contemplated over and over again in the press, in public deputations and political speeches. Theirs was a politics fit for the society of the spectacle a point that the last two chapters of this book will argue out in some detail. But the very source of success - the ability to allow every participant in collective action to associate their own private miseries and joys with a large collective also made the politics of self-expression singularly ineffective in terms of any form of politics other than itself. It could demonstrate but they could not develop a very clear sense of what exactly they were demonstrating for. In a sense, the answer to such a question was obvious to them - the desire for empowerment of a national collective; but this is a far cry from the more clear-cut objectives of other forms of collective action - working class or peasant politics with their protocols and conventions for instance . The fatal flaw in these politics however, was its striking individualism, although it was usually subsumed into a rhetoric of organic nationalism. Precisely because there was such an easy transition between the collective and the individual soul, it was possible for the activists to understand their own inner worlds as synonymous with the larger collective. The erasure of the individual will that most forms of self-expressionist political practice advocated, was really a totalization of individual self-hood to the point where it literally contained the entire world. The individualistic streak in their politics can be attributed to the social being of its most ardent adherents: the marginalized middle classes in the 'advanced' provinces of India. The very concept of class is impossible in political thought that refuses to recognize the importance of the societal. And as we shall see, this anti-societal vision of the politics was the result of an obsessive focus on the inner worlds of individuals, and of the conflation of these worlds with an imagined universe of meta-historical collectivities.
Covered earlier by us, Hindutva-Savarkar's vision of the world and his sense of what it means to be a Hindu can only really exist in what his contemporary, the German political theorist Carl Schmitt has called 'ausnahmezustand' - an exceptional state of being in which everybody recognizes who is collective friend or collective foe with such an intensity that all other considerations become mute. (Schmitt, The Concept of the Political,translated by G.schwab, 1976, pp. 25-7, the term 'ausnahmezustand' is used in the German original.)
Or as Schmitt further argues, “there would not be a meaningful antithesis whereby men could be required to sacrifice life, authorized to shed blood, and kill other human beings.” (Ibid., p. 35.)
The anti-societal orientation of this political vision however was expressed most clearly and overtly in the thought of another political prophet who embarked on his mission in the mid-1920s: Inyatullah Khan (1885-1965) alias 'Allama Mashriqi' ('The Sage of the East'). Born in the Punjab in a village near Amritsar, he was from a family of moderate wealth but high-status pretensions and a long history of service in the colonial government. Mashriqi himself received a scholarship to study in Cambridge and subsequently pursued a successful career as civil servant and headmaster in various colonial institutions in the North West of India. (M.A. Malik, Mashriqi biography OUP Pakistan, 2000, pp. 1-22.)
Although the first volume of Mashriqi's self-acclaimed magnum opus AI-Tazkira was published as early as 1924, his political career only really took off after his retirement from colonial service, with the foundation of the Khaksar paramilitary started off with only a few members in Punjab and Western UP, mostly from university-educated, lower-level salariat or artisan backgrounds. All members of the movement were required to participate in weekly exercises in uniform, involving paramilitary training and so-called 'social work'. Mashriqi openly acknowledged his debt to foreign models, particularly the German SA and SS, but also the Czech Sokol (25 January 1936).
The Khaksar trademark was the spade (belch a) which was used as a symbolic stand-in for a gun in parades, but also as a real weapon in street fights and as a tool. The first foray into all-India politics came in 1938, when Mashriqi sent batches of volunteers to the UP capital Lucknow where a longstanding dispute between the Sunni and Shia 'communities' had degenerated into a series of bloody riots. The stated aim of the Khaksar 'invasion' was to resolve what they saw as an internecine struggle between Muslims. If need be - Mashriqi announced publicly and with characteristic flourish - peace was to be restored by assassinating the most quarrelsome' community leaders'. As the colonial authorities were quick to realize, the real aim of the invasion was to give the Khaksars an opportunity to impress small-town populations all over North India with paramilitary displays and processions and to provoke the government into repressive measures that would further enhance the movement's prestige. Although Mashriqi was arrested and his stand-off with both the sectarian leaders and the government came dangerously close to a farce, the Lucknow operation did have considerable success in making the Khaksars widely known. Rich businessmen began to join the movement and the geographic reach expanded to include units in Central India and Bengal. (Malik, Mashriqi Biography, p. 196.)
Encouraged by all this, Mashriqi decided to embark on an even larger confrontation with Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan's government in Punjab, which would coincide with the famous 1940 All India Muslim League session in Lahore. Once again a strategy of deliberate confrontation with the authorities was adopted. Mashriqi made demands that were largely symbolic and guaranteed not to be met - the creation of a Khaksar corps in the British army and the provision of a Khaksar radio station. He then issued an impossible ultimatum to the authorities and ordered his men to stage provocative demonstrations in streets and in mosques. The Lahore police responded with indiscriminate and lethal force, with thousands of Muslim League delegates from all over the country witnessing events. Several delegates gave damning eyewitness accounts of the 'massacre' to the press. (Zamindar Newspaper, 21 March 1940.)
In sympathy and appreciation of Khaksar courage and sacrifice, Muslim children began to call themselves 'Khaksar'. Preachers in mosques, students and the Muslim press all began to pay homage to Mashriqi and turned him, at least temporarily, into one ofthe most prominent (and most reviled from the Government point of view) Muslim leaders in India. (Zamindar, 21 March 1940.)
Mashriqi's overall mission however was very similar to Savarkar's. He too believed that a merciless battle for the survival of the fittest would ultimately lead to the betterment of humankind in general; furthermore that his own nation, the worldwide community of Muslims (ummat), would have to get ready to secure its own existence in a terrifying world of never-ending warfare. There is some difference in emphasis between the two writers, however. For both, the unity of their respective religious nations was of paramount importance and in neither case was this unity uncontested. But for Savarkar's Hinduism the creation of unity required a whole new theoretical approach to the very question of 'Who is a Hindu?' Mashriqi, in contrast, could take at least a minimal sense of Muslim-ness for granted. Whereas the anti-social thrust of Who is a Hindu? is often hidden behind questions of boundary definition, Mashriqi was much more open about the destruction of society as a key objective in his formulations.
Like Savarkar and other RSS ideologues, Mashriqi was deeply influenced by radical nationalisms in Europe and German National Socialism. He claimed to have met Hitler personally and came to share the typical Nazi distaste for the world of the everyday. After arriving in Germany in 1926, Mashriqi was deeply shocked that such a model of a warlike nation could have sunk so low as to detest militarism and war altogether. Wherever he went - as he wrote in his 1935 introduction to an edited and abridged Urdu translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf-people were talking about 'peace and prosperity'; instead of taking the fanatical pride in the Kaiser that he had encountered just before the outbreak of the First World War. (p. 221.) He could not comprehend how the 'terrifying world-conquering power of the German nation' could be rejected in favour of a comfortable petty life. With particular ire he recalled a housewife who rejected war on the grounds that she could get no sugar and meat for her family. (p. 222.) According to Mashriqi, God's greatest and most important command, as revealed and elaborated in the Qur'an, is the willingness to endure hardship in pursuit of military glory. (L. Mashriqi, 'Islam ki ‘ Askan Zindig', Al-Islah, 29 May 1936, p. 408.)
Assuming the role of a universal lawgiver for himself, Mashriqi formulated this idea in terms of 'Ten Principles' which later became the core ideology of the Khaksar movement. The first and most important (the others are all variations on industriousness, scientific curiosity and martial organization) is the age-old Islamic core doctrine of tawhid, or absolute belief in one God. Any person who did not maintain this Unity of Godhead in his mind for any length of time, who, in contravention to God's trouble-giving commandments accepted the ease-giving commandments of his wicked inner self, i.e. the Devil, who worshipped the idol of wealth, the idol of a comfortable house, the idol of wife and family, the idol of his personal desires and selfish passions, was, for a length of time an unbelieving person, an Infidel, a Kafir [heathen], a Mushrik [polytheist] in the terminology of the Quran. (Malik, Mashriqi Biography, p. 240.)
Mashriqi's programme was a sustained and radical attack on the world of the everyday which he saw as the main impediment to a martial identity.
Any attachment to things other than the grand battle for survival between nations and races was seen as an affront against Islam. The only true believer is one who is willing to sever all ties with society at large and ready to become a soldier. In a lengthy and programmatic article in Al-Islah, the Khaksar organ, Mashriqi argued that all the practical obligations of Islam were methods to increase the organizational and collective power of the Muslim community, thus giving rise to a 'magnificent strength'. It was exactly this strength that enabled the Muslim community to acquire political dominance, which in turn took care of all other aspects of life in the Muslim community and ordered them to best possible effect. (Mashriqi, ‘Askari Zindigi', vol. 118, no. 126, pp. 393-4.) 132)
As for most Muslims, Mashriqi's ideal was the earliest period of Islamic history. But what he cherished was not so much the sense of righteousness and correct guidance that came from close proximity to the Prophet, as the magnificent military exploits of the early Muslims, their 'forcefully acquired imperial sovereignty'. He wrote in the above, al-Islah,
If our ancestors came to take possession of India after establishing their rule, having marched thousands of miles and having fought countless battles, if the Muslims of the first centuries [Muslim calendar] conquered 36 thousand [sic] cities and fortresses in twelve years, if Islam's first activists conquered without respite nine new cities and castles in one day, then there is a difference of day and night between their Islam and the Islam of today. Do you think that the conquest of states was possibly without relentless and unending action of hand and feet? Do you think that our forefathers could have conquered even the smallest of castles without heroism, fearlessness, complete comradely love and trust, complete obedience to their superiors, accomplished sword skill; without the readiness to travel thousands of miles on foot; without endurance in the face of hunger and thirst; without the burning wish to die and kill on the battlefield, in short without a readiness to live a completely martial way of lift?!
In comparison to this lofty ideal, contemporary Muslim society was regarded as sick to the core, and as the following-list demonstrates, it was again the institutions and practices of everyday life that were seen as the root causes of decay:
Do you think that the Muslims of that glorious age had even a minute left to discuss some tract on the intricacies of religious doctrine or to found a school or [social reform] association? Or did the Arabs, when they brought the world to its knees, first study in some school or university? ( ... ) Didn't they make it their day and night obsession to conquer lands for the glory of Allah, sword in hand, once they had fulfilled their religious obligations? Did they love their wives in such unhealthy ways as is the case today? Did their sons cling to the necks of their fathers as is common in every household nowadays? Did their business ventures, worth crores of Rupees, make these men as lazy and indolent as the income from a single grocery shop makes Muslims lazy and indolent today? (Ibid., p. 395)
Particularly pronounced was Mashriqi's antipathy towards the family - social institution par excellence and foundation stone of religious conservativism the world over - which he sees as the root cause of all evil. Following the previous quote Mashriqi described the lifestyle of the eighth-century Muslim scholar Malik b. Arras as an example that all Muslims should follow. (Ibid., p. 397.)
Malik's father is eulogized as a man who engaged in warfare far away from home for years on end and left the upbringing of his illustrious son to his wife. For Mashriqi this was not neglect, but the legitimate claiming of a space for self-fulfilment (albeit disguised as service for the nation). All three - father, mother, son - respectfully allow each other to pursue their own missions in life and each contribute in their own different ways to the success of Islam. For Mashriqi this is the ideal and in stark contrast to current practice: 'In the Muslim family of today, all members strangle each other with inappropriate love and end up crippled.' 135 If the members of a nation end up strangled by their daily entanglements and obligations, this can ultimately only lead to the death and decay of the nation as a whole. This is precisely why the Muslims of today are a 'dying' nation. Unlike other 'living nations' Who follow God's eternal commands and nothing else, Muslims have chosen to love worldly things instead of God. The same idea is expressed in al- Tazkira in terms of the conventional Islamic charge against heathenism: ... all else beside Him were idols, which, if worshipped by a nation for any length of time, would stunt its very vigour and suck its very life out of it in the shortest possible time and, would make it totally incapable of coping with the great struggle for existence which it has to face.The chief evil in this context is 'cash profit' and 'comfort in cash' which not only makes individuals lazy, but 'takes away the very life of Nations .. .' (Al-Tazkirah, summarized and translated by Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan and included in Letter to Nobel Prize Committee, 3 January 1925; reprinted in Malik, Mashriqi Biography, p. 241.)
This is a metaphor only too well known from the context of European cultural pessimism; capitalism as the 'life-sucking' vampire that occurs both in Marx, and later, in an anti-Semitic context, in the discourse of the extreme Right. Behind a clear and unequivocal denigration of the concerns of the everyday, stood a principled rejection of capitalism. For Mashriqi, as for many other thinkers of his time, economics was a matter of co-ordinated planning, based on sound scientific principles, and aimed at securing collective rather than individual goals. Mashriqi's radicalism came out most clearly in his willingness to push social Darwinist lines of argument beyond the religiously acceptable. He made it very clear that sin and virtue have nothing to do with the correct observance of religious rules and regulations. (Mashriqi, ‘Askan Zindigi, pp. 404-6.)
The value of an action was determined solely by its impact on the collective survival of the national group. As the following quote demonstrates, this logic was taken to its ultimate conclusion - a complete inversion of Islamic identity: Mere ceremonial worship of a stone idol of a few minutes daily cannot make a nation infidel in the divine sense, as long as they keep the devil [defined as sloth and self interest] out of the door. Nay, a nation can be a real God-worshipper, while it formally worships idols; while a community of people who merely say that God is One may in reality and in deed be the greatest idol-worshipping nation that has ever existed on the face of the Earth. (AI-Tagkirah; reprinted in Malik, Mashriqi Biography, p. 242.)
What he is saying here is that all those who believe themselves to be Muslims are not really Muslims at all, but infidels; while those who do not even officially profess Islam may actually be true Muslims. To make matters worse, he mentions stone idols, which is an allusion to Hinduism and Buddhism. Some Young Turk thinkers had re-labeled Buddhism as proto-Islam in appreciation of the Japanese military success against Russia in 1905. ( N. Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey, 1998, p. 342.)
But the idea that Hindus may actually be better Muslims than the Muslims themselves was an affront of almost unimaginable magnitude in the communalized context of colonial India. Behind such shock tactics stood, of course, the desire to restore Islam to its proper glory. There is little doubt that Mashriqi has his own religious community in mind when he proclaimed,
A persistent application of, and action on these Ten Principles is the true significance of 'fitness' in the Darwinian [sic] principle of 'Survival of the Fittest', and a community of people which carries action on these lines to the very extremist limits has every right to remain a predominant race on this Earth forever, has claim to be the ruler of the world for all time. As soon as any or all of these qualities deteriorate in a nation, she begins to lose her right to remain and Fitter people may take her place automatically under the Law of Natural Selection. (AI-Tagkirah; reprinted in Malik: Mashriqi Biography, p. 243.)
The motif of worship points to a crucial source of anti-societalism in the politics of self-expression: for Mashriqi both nations and individuals 'worship', and both can be guilty of the sin of shirk, or polytheism. This implies that nations and individuals are ontologically analogous. Both are seen as un-networked and un-connected monads in possession of some inherent essential being that had to be expressed. What is entirely ignored here is the ground between individuals that is society. By conceptually assimilating individuals to nations the impression is created that individuals like international bodies live in an empty, lawless and unregulated context. It is highly revealing that the rules constituting political ethics - for instance, the 'Ten Principles' of the Khaksar movement - were of such a nature that they could apply in equal measure to individuals and groups. Both had to toughen-up and be purified in order to survive in a universe ruled by survival of the fittest.
Mashriqi's attack on society was phrased in unequivocal terms and contained a range of radical ideas that his contemporaries found hard to stomach. Although he was clearly against self-fulfillment if understood as the pursuit of personal career options or personal wealth, the Khaksar founder was always ready to absolve his followers of conventional social duties in the name of national or racial interest. No institution of Islamic society remained outside the purview of condemnation. Mashriqi hated the religious establishment and their (in his eyes) hair-splitting attempts to bring Islamic doctrine in line with modern requirements. But he had as little time for Islamic mysticism or the many customs and traditions that formed the flesh and blood of Muslim community life. Festivals and traditional foods were all part of the devil of ease and distractions from war. Modernists like Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Iqbal were also savagely criticized. In a manner which is at least surprising for a retired headmaster, Mashriqi declared that education was irrelevant for the supreme duty of military organization and the contemporary discussion about the merits of female education nothing more than a waste of time. Social reform was a futile exercise in association-mongering (' anjumansazi'), and literary activity an outburst of elegiac self-pity. (Mashriqi, ‘Askan Zindigi, p. 392.)
Unsurprisingly, Mashriqi's hunger for all-out controversy ultimately undermined the considerable ideological clout that some of his ideas enjoyed in the Indian Muslim middle-class milieu. Unlike Savarkar, Mashriqi was not a good tactician ready to absorb prevailing political and religious norms under the umbrella of his own ideology. Despite their close resemblance in organizational set-up, ideological orientation and political style the subsequent histories of the two respective movements that the two men helped to found was radically different. After the Khaksars' 'Finest Hour' in 1940 the British security forces could make substantial dents into Khaksar influence by encouraging more orthodox voices to dismiss Mashriqi as a non-Muslim. (Malik:, Mashriqi Biography, pp. 40-51.)
Jinnah's All India Muslim League - which Mashriqi bitterly opposed - managed to absorb many disgruntled Khaksar activists, bringing them back into the fold of acceptability, as it were, albeit without much moderating their militarist opinions. From more than 5,000 members in 1939, the membership of the movement declined to 600 in 1946, and reached near extinction in 1947. (Both numbers from documents at the National Archives of India NAI, File Home Political- 92/39 and 28/5/46.)
Although the Khaksars maintained a certain presence in the United Provinces after Partition, it became all but eclipsed in Pakistan where Mashriqi continued to live until his death. The Sangh Parivar, meanwhile, easily survived a phase of government repression after Gandhi's assassination in 1948, has remained a powerful presence in Indian politics.
This is because in the period between the early 1930s and the early 1950s, many elements of anti-societal politics were absorbed into the political mainstream. Muslim ideas of self-expression were taken up by middle-class activists, who became increasingly influential in the mainstream All India Muslim League, as it transformed itself from a 'communalist' lobby group into a 'national' movement from 1937 onwards. Some years older but broadly similar in outlook and function to the early Hindu Mahasabha, the League had started off in 1906 as an ethno religious lobby group of the land-owning and professional elite within the context of the politics of interest. The main political concerns were the securing of special representation of Muslims within the various institutions of limited self-rule and the defense of Muslim privileges, particularly in UP. In other respects political opinions within the League varied a great deal, and in the case of some individual members, often changed dramatically over time - from 'secular' to 'religious', pro-Khilafat to anti-Khilafat, loyalist to nationalist. During those early years, Muslim Leaguers were often also members of other political organizations such as the All India Congress, the, then recognized umbrella organization of Indian nationalism. Ideological inconsistency and conflicting interests, however, led to many splits within the League and by the early 1930s, rendered it largely ineffective.
By that time, Muslim participation in Congress had fallen to an all-time low following several years of religious conflict in many parts of India and a perceived unwillingness of Hindu Congress politicians to take Muslim demands seriously. This left many nationalist Muslims anxious, insecure and in search for a new organizational and ideological home. With the creation of wider electoral politics at the provincial level in the 1935 Government of India Act, effective organization with a mass base had become imperative for political survival. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, freshly returned from several years of self-imposed exile in Britain, responded to this crisis by radically revamping the League into a Muslim nationalist - and increasingly separatist - mass organization. His problem was that this had to be done largely from scratch. The League had no experience of mass mobilization, hardly any power base at the grass-roots level and not even a semblance of ideological unity. Jinnah had no choice but to cut corners. The anti-societalism that flowed naturally from this persuasion was politically useful for the League. By re-orientating the aims and substance of politics towards celestial goals against and above society, self-expressionist nationalism could help to avoid hard and potentially divisive questions about the League's relation to concrete political interest.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah's official pronouncements are a good indication for a widespread slide into anti-societal militarism. By virtue of his old-style liberal background he has to be regarded as something like a moderate. But ever willing to welcome any prospective group of followers into the League, he spoke with several voices: when addressing peasant meetings in Bengal he promised the removal of socio-economic grievances; when conducting his protracted negotiations with the British and the Congress he acted as a liberal lobbyist with a creative and acute awareness of legal compromise. When addressing members on the university campuses of Lahore and Aligarh, however, Jinnah espoused a martial sense of politics and harped on the tragedy of Islamic decline. (Presidential Address to Punjab Muslim Student Federation, 2 March 1941, Yusufi (ed.), Quaid Speeches, p. 1328, and at the Punjab Muslim Student Federation 18 March 1944, Quaid Speeches, p. 1857.)
In his famous address to the Lucknow session of the League in October 1937, commonly regarded as the transition point from communalism to nationalism he exhorted the Muslims of India: Organize yourself, establish your solidarity and complete unity. Equip yourself as trained and disciplined soldiers. Create the feeling of an esprit de corps and of comradeship amongst yourselves. ( ... ) [As a result] ... a nation will emerge worth of its past glory and history and will live to make the future history greater and more glorious not only in Indian but in the annals of the world.( 15 October 1937, Yusufi (ed.), Quaid Speeches, p. 657.)
The motif of the 'political soldier' recurred throughout the Qaid-e-Azam 's speeches from then on. The fact that most observers would find this passage a common-place expression of nationalism indicates just how widespread military metaphors and the appeal to the 'world' as ultimate audience and reference point had become at the time. Others of Jinnah's pronouncements were direct paraphrases from Mashriqi; for instance, when he proclaimed on All India Radio that 'This discipline of Ramazan [the holy month of fasting] was designed by our prophet to give us the necessary strength for action' since Islam 'as you all know, really means action'. Past military glory such as the Muslim conquest of Spain and India were frequently mentioned to boost middle-class morale in the North Western regions. (Message broadcast on All India Radio, 13 November 1939, Yusufi (ed.), Quaid Speeches, pp. 1060.)
At the same time, Jinnah often quoted anti-Muslim statements by Hindu nationalists in order to conjure up a military threat that implicitly required, if not a military then at least a paramilitary response from the Muslim side; for instance Savarkar's invitation to the Sikhs to 'develop into a great military force in Punjab' in order to keep Muslims down; or the assertion that the Hindu Mahasabha's aim was to 'militarize and industrialize the Hindus' as to drive the Muslims out of India; These (not at all groundless) references fed into his more general invocations of a dangerous world and of Muslim helplessness that constituted the staple of Jinnah's rhetorical repertoire. Explicit Social Darwinism which is so noticeable in both Savarkar and Mashriqi is largely absent from this, but the main function of the central emphasis on war remains the same as in their prophetic a deliberately provocative contribution to the debate about the future constitution of India, which was going on in the Muslim League in the years before the landmark Lahore session of 1940. Although this is not the centre of interest here, the pamphlet was amongst the first to argue for a territorial solution to the problem of Muslim nationhood. The Scheme received a mixed response at the time, but was later used as a propaganda pamphlet in support of Pakistan. Niazi and Chishti were both religious scholars from a small town provincial background (after 1942 Niazi taught Islamiyyat at Islamia College, Lahore) and made political careers, periodically falling in and out of favour with the far-right fringes of the post Partition Pakistan Muslim League. The Scheme itself refers to reactions of the press, Chishti thanked Jinnah for his allegedly 'favourable consideration' of the Scheme in a letter dated 15 February 1940. Reprinted in Mirza, The Punjab Muslim Students Federation, 1937-1947: a Study of the Formation, Growth and Participation in the Pakistan movement, p. 11., Niazi and Chishti were both arrested during the 1953 clampdown.
Mian Muhammad Shafi became a well known journalist under his pen name 'Meem Sheen' who joined the left-leaning Pakistan Times group of newspapers after Partition. The central concern of the Scheme was to provide both a constitutional blueprint and a strategy for action to re-establish the world domination of Islam, beginning with a reconquista of Hindus tan. In order to achieve this aim, the pamphlet argues, the Muslim community had to stop their reliance on constitutional politics, which implied an undue dependence on outsiders. Instead, they had to begin a quest for internal unity and discipline that would, in due course, produce a 'God Man' or 'Ubermensch' (Khuda mard), who would lead a renewed military struggle for world domination. Napoleon and Hitler are depicted as saviours, whom the Muslims of India and elsewhere should emulate. Victory in world history was interpreted not as the outcome of superior administrative, technological or economic power, but as the result of superior will power (imani taqat) alone. In order to attain this will power, both spirit and body had to be cleansed from any weakness and impurity, which could only be achieved through military and religious training. Initially this training would be imparted by a vanguard party (jamaCat), made up of pure individuals, and later, when a Muslim state was established in a section of India, by the proposed Caliphate of Pakistan itself. Throughout the pamphlet the purifying role of radicalism, violence and armed struggle was emphasized and juxtaposed to both Congress non-violence and the 'accursed system of Western democracy'. (File 790D.00/3-2653. WEEKA 166, Lahore, 26 March 1953; File 790D.00/4-3053 WEEKA 181, Lahore, 30 April 1953.)
This pattern of argumentation incorporates all the hallmarks of the politics of negotiation and bargaining with others that is sharply criticized; instead the purpose of politics is reduced to seeking salvation through the expression of a purified inner self; the destruction of society is advocated in the guise of preparing for the ausnahmezustand - the total mobilization and military organization of the nation for never-ending battle. The Scheme operates within a global universe, in which might is right, and dominance per se is the goal of all combatant nations. The value of military might is taken as self-explanatory, whereas the value of civilization or economic prosperity are downplayed or ignored. As a result leadership and foreign policy, rather than the balancing of internal differences of interest receive the most attention in the actual constitutional blueprint of the Scheme. The actual 'constitution' (dastur) of the prospective Caliphate of Pakistan is dealt with on one page, which includes little more than a vague reference to an advisory council of notables, who were to represent all the interests of society in subcommittees. This is a corporatist vision typical of the time period. Since interests were seen as non-political givens and were believed to be resolvable by administrative action alone, no thought is spared on what procedures should be adopted to resolve political conflict between the envisioned representatives of interest. Symbolic matters were seen as much more important than institutional mechanisms. It is highly revealing for the overall orientation of the pamphlet that a description of the proposed flag of the new state is given nearly the same space as its 'constitution'. Flags are an important instrument of self-expression that can be effortlessly incorporated into a militaristic sense of politics. Flags can be used to signal possession or control over specific areas while at the same time making a visible statement about the historical identity of their owners. For the student authors of the Scheme, the prospective flag was a visual representation of what it meant to be a Muslim; with the delight of schoolboys preparing for a full-costume re-enactment of an ancient battle, they devised an intricate multi-colored design, which appropriated the flags of earlier (Arab) Muslim empires such as the Abbasids and Umayyads. The national symbol of the Caliphate of Pakistan was to be the date palm, because it stood for the Muslims' ultimate origin, the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. All symbols with sectarian connotation were either to be avoided, or to be used simultaneously in order to express national unity.
The Scheme is important because it indicates a fundamentalformal difference between the politics of self-expression and earlier forms of politics based on processes of communication and negotiation. This was not about arguing the case of a new politics in order to convince a sceptical audience - a stylistic orientation and rhetorical perspective that is still visible in Savarkar's mystico-biological reasoning about Hinduism, and leaves a distinct didactic aftertaste in Mashriqi's oeuvre. Niazi, Chishti and Shafi did not want to change opinions, they merely wanted to express how they themselves felt as Muslim activists and hoped that similar feelings would be induced or evoked in their readers. The Scheme was designed to stimulate an affective emotional state of empowerment in the reader while simultaneously humiliating an imaginary opponent. The acts of reading and writing themselves produced the kind of ausnahmezustand in which the difference between friend and foe had come into sharp relief. As people sat down to study the pamphlet, or assembled in small groups to hear it being read out aloud, they were transported into a different sphere of existence where they could contemplate images and emotions that everyday life did not normally permit. Within their fleeting worlds, the political dreamers possessed the ability to rip the fabric of society to shreds. Many passages in the Scheme were deliberate inducements to engage in power fantasies of this kind. In a particularly bone-chilling section the authors asserted that the difference between Hindus and Muslims was the same as the difference between humans and animals. The obvious technical and political achievements of non-Muslims, it is argued, do not alter this basic fact, since many animals can perform tasks which are superior to human capabilities, but nevertheless remain animals. As a result, even the lowliest and meanest of Muslims is by definition superior to the best non-Muslim. Although non-Muslims can expect to be treated with the same care with which a considerate person would treat a domestic animal, the Scheme argues, their lives and possessions can be sacrificed if Muslim interests demanded that, just like a chicken would be slaughtered in the case of hunger. In a remarkable pseudo-biologist formulation, the authors argue that a Hindu killed in a communal riot undergoes an ontological improvement in the same way as a goat 'molecule' improves when it is turned into a human 'molecule' through the process of digestion. Until Muslim supremacy is again established in all of India, non-Muslims should be identified as targets of hatred and violence, not so much because of a fault of their own, but because such an identification would unite the Muslim community in the same way as antiSemitism and the attack on its neighbours had united Hitler's Germany.
Much of this was said in order to provoke potential Hindu readers into a test of strength that could easily degenerate into a real ausnahmezustand on the streets of North Indian cities. In August 1946 a Hindu magazine demanded the proscription of the Scheme on the grounds that it was inciting communal hatred. (NAI: File-Home Political- 37/2/47 Khilafat Pakistan Scheme.)
The colonial authorities were now faced with the choice of giving extra recognition to the authors by banning the publication, or of ignoring the proscription request which in Hindu eyes would make them look like Muslim stooges. In either case, political movements in the ground had an opportunity to mobilize their supporters for or against a ban. Since this was a typical zero-sum issue there cannot really be any compromise between banning and not banning a pamphlet containing deliberate insults - a battle that could be pursued indefinitely, leading to ever-growing hostility between friend and foe and to an ever increasing destruction of society as it existed.
Such disciplinary regimes were a way of controlling and thereby utilizing the power of the subaltern classes that made up the majority of India's population. The Khaksars, Muslim League National Guards and Congress volunteers (less so the RSS and the Communists) did attract members from the lower orders of society urban artisans, farmers and peasants who were easily swayed by the sense of dignity that a uniform bestowed on its wearer. Their subjection to disciplinary regimes in volunteer training camps was a way of extirpating their unkempt and unruly 'subaltern' nature and to remodel them according to middle-class ideas of 'proper' behavior. The need for hygiene, punctuality and thrift - all highlighted in every volunteer organization - is an obvious point in case.
The problem with such explanations is that they revert back into the instrumentalist logic of the politics of interest, according to which all political action happens for specific aims formulated by an elite leadership. This may well be correct in the case of wider nationalist movements under the sway of organizers who were on their way to becoming stake-holding politicians of interest. As far as the politics of self-expression is concerned, the 'discipline and mobilize' argument imputes too great a conventional will to power on the part of middleclass activists. This ignores the fact that - although middle-class ideologues may have noisily invoked the wish to discipline the entire world - it was really the middleclass activists themselves who were the most enthusiastic recipients of their own regimes of self-castigation. We are dealing with an obsession with discipline that was not the response to a lack of discipline in middle-class life, but connected to the hatred for societal forms of restraint. Middle-class people longed for states of de-societalization that replicated much of the 'naturalness' and 'authenticity' of the lower social orders that disciplinary regimes would destroy. Put more bluntly, the interesting point about people like Mashriqi (and his willing victims) is the flogging rather than the punctuality that would result from such 'punishment'. Discourses of disciplining the body were appropriated by the self-expressionists because they could become a stimulant of the 'inner struggle' that was needed to connect a political vision based on social Darwinism with individual psychosomatic symptoms. Regimes of discipline became magic rituals because they could be made to encapsulate simultaneously what being middle class was all about and the frenzied struggle to exorcise the very same middle class-ness from the activists' bodies.